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Too much time on my hands, sheltering in place with pens and ink.

 

DMS on x-height 120200710_01.jpg

 

DMS on x-height 120200710_02.jpg

 

Stay well all, and Happy writing!

 

David

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bestillmysoul

This is amazing !

Forgive me for my ignorance of variable width writing - I am new to calligraphy.

In the first sentence written with blue ink, did the shades of dark and light colour develop by itself or did you shade them intentionally?

What nib width would be appropriate if I want to use such a pen for routine writing? I want to use it primarily for routine writing but showing some degree of line width variation.

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BaronWulfraed

For "routine writing" (note-taking, correspondence) you probably won't want anything over 1.1mm, and likely smaller. I have a Pilot Vanishing Point with a "stub" nib. It produces a 0.6mm x 0.2mm line.

 

And it may be a "stub" you want rather than an "italic" nib. The gamut (at least in my mind) runs from stub -> cursive italic -> formal italic.

 

Stubs have the least variation, but are most supportive of "routine writing". They have more rounded corners and do not dig into the paper. Cursive italics have more variation while retaining slightly round corners -- they don't dig into paper, but do require the nib to held properly flat to the paper; lifting one side will result in losing ink contact with the paper. Formal italics provide the greatest variation within a width, but are not really suited for anything done at speed. They have sharp corners, and any tilting of the nib will result in the corner cutting into the paper -- imagine trying to write with a small wood chisel.

 

What actual size to choose comes down to what your "routine writing" line heights are... Consider a lower-case "e" -- say your normal stroke with a common medium (0.4mm ball) leaves an opening that is just 0.4mm across, then 0.6mm stub will leave only a 0.2mm opening, and a 0.8mm stub/cursive italic is going to completely fill in the opening.

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bestillmysoul

For "routine writing" (note-taking, correspondence) you probably won't want anything over 1.1mm, and likely smaller. I have a Pilot Vanishing Point with a "stub" nib. It produces a 0.6mm x 0.2mm line.

 

And it may be a "stub" you want rather than an "italic" nib. The gamut (at least in my mind) runs from stub -> cursive italic -> formal italic.

 

Stubs have the least variation, but are most supportive of "routine writing". They have more rounded corners and do not dig into the paper. Cursive italics have more variation while retaining slightly round corners -- they don't dig into paper, but do require the nib to held properly flat to the paper; lifting one side will result in losing ink contact with the paper. Formal italics provide the greatest variation within a width, but are not really suited for anything done at speed. They have sharp corners, and any tilting of the nib will result in the corner cutting into the paper -- imagine trying to write with a small wood chisel.

 

What actual size to choose comes down to what your "routine writing" line heights are... Consider a lower-case "e" -- say your normal stroke with a common medium (0.4mm ball) leaves an opening that is just 0.4mm across, then 0.6mm stub will leave only a 0.2mm opening, and a 0.8mm stub/cursive italic is going to completely fill in the opening.

 

Thank you.. Your explanation made it clear. I will try out a few stub nibs to get a feel of routine writing for my handwriting. I have been looking at videos on youtube and other posts here about oblique nibs. Do you write with oblique nibs for your calligraphy or just straight ones? Is it just a user preference related to how one holds the hand while writing or is the oblique nib used in certain types of calligraphy?

Edited by S_B_P
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BaronWulfraed

 

Thank you.. Your explanation made it clear. I will try out a few stub nibs to get a feel of routine writing for my handwriting. I have been looking at videos on youtube and other posts here about oblique nibs. Do you write with oblique nibs for your calligraphy or just straight ones? Is it just a user preference related to how one holds the hand while writing or is the oblique nib used in certain types of calligraphy?

I have no luck with oblique nibs -- and actually purchased a replacement nib unit for my Pelikan because the OB just didn't work for me. Besides making my horizontal strokes too fat and verticals thin (pretty much the opposite of most calligraphic hands) I just couldn't keep the nib flat on the paper -- I, almost instinctively, tend to keep the nib slit "up", but the OB nib required me to rotate the pen and nib putting the slit off-center to the left.

 

[MY Opinion] A "left-foot" oblique seems more suited to a left-handed underwriter as it puts the widest stroke on the vertical, closer to how a non-oblique nib is oriented in a right-hander.

 

While I've dabbled with calligraphy over the years, I've never spent the time to actually learn a hand. For this dabbling I've accrued a significant number of pen sets: Sheaffer NoNonsense era set of three in small/medium/large [they don't provide numeric measurements], the German produced (as I recall) Sheaffer sets with the rubberized sections, I've got a late production Osmiroid set (one pen, 6 nibs), a Platignum set [i think], a Staedtler set (5 pens, 6 nibs as I recall -- might be 4&5), and a pair of Lamy Joys (1.1 and 1.5mm). a pair of Aurora pens with chisel edged formal italic nibs.

 

Addendum: If discussing /dip/ pens, an oblique nib holder is useful for the Flex-based hands (Copperplate, Spencerian), as it puts the nib in alignment for a pull stroke in the direction that is often the thickest line (top right to bottom left). I don't see it being of much use for flat-edge hands (Blackletter/Gothic, Uncial, Italic) as those typically have the thinnest line in the / orientation, thickest \ and horizontals and verticals about even.

Edited by BaronWulfraed
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This is amazing !

Forgive me for my ignorance of variable width writing - I am new to calligraphy.

In the first sentence written with blue ink, did the shades of dark and light colour develop by itself or did you shade them intentionally?

What nib width would be appropriate if I want to use such a pen for routine writing? I want to use it primarily for routine writing but showing some degree of line width variation.

 

You are not going to find many stock italic nibs that narrow. Almost all the pens I use routinely have custom-ground nibs. Stipula makes a nice 0.9mm nib both gold and steel. The Pilot "CM" nib on the Plumix and Metropolitan pens are very reasonable and very usable. There are others, but most narrow stock "italic" nibs don't have much line variation. However, if what you mean by "routine" is Palmer-type cursive, you don't want as crisp a nib as for italic calligraphy or other styles using a chisel tipped nib.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Happy writing!

 

David

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BaronWulfraed

Ink/paper choice can also have an influence.

 

In my test, a Lamy Joy 1.1mm pen produced 0.8mm x 0.4mm (so, only a 2X thick/thin variation)

 

An old Stipula Passaporto italic nib produced 0.9mm x 0.2mm (for a 4X variation)

 

And, as previously mentioned, my Pilot Vanishing Point 18K stub nib gave me 0.6mm x 0.2mm (a 3X variation) (For comparison another Vanishing point with a 14K B nib produced 0.6mm x 0.4mm, so even that qualified as "stub")

 

 

The Passaporto is not a pen for learning calligraphy -- it is the size of a large horse pill, or average Swiss Army knife model (Tinker class).

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A Smug Dill

What nib width would be appropriate if I want to use such a pen for routine writing? I want to use it primarily for routine writing but showing some degree of line width variation.

I will try out a few stub nibs to get a feel of routine writing for my handwriting.

Or you can start off with measuring the objective x-height in examples of your subjective "routine writing". If you routinely write with an x-height of 2.5mm, then (according to Eleanor Winters in her book, Italic and Copperplate Calligraphy: The Basics and Beyond, the standard x-height being five nib widths) you'd be looking for a broad-edged nib with a 0.5mm-wide edge; or an x-height of 3.5mm would "require" a 0.7mm Italic nib. Nemosine used to sell 0.6mm and 0.8mm Stub nibs (in #6 size) made by JoWo, on its pen models and also as standalone nibs. The M nibs on the Pilot Plumix, in my experience, leave lines of roughly 0.7mm at their widest; but you can get a F nib for the Plumix, as I've belatedly discovered, as long as you're not limiting yourself to what is readily available from local or even US retailers, but are prepared to order from wherever and deal with shipping and tax/duty as required. Or you can pay a nibmeister to customise a nib to your specifications; Dan Smith at Nibsmith.com did one for me when I ordered a Pelikan M600 from him, and it's one of my very favourite nibs. Nibs.com and FPNibs.com offer the service, as does Fontoplumo (and I think La Couronne du Comte, too) in the Netherlands.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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inkstainedruth

If I'm doing calligraphy (which, on extremely rare occasions I do) I look to see what the x-height for a specific hand is (as well as how much to add for ascenders and descenders) and mark x-heghts for ruling lines (a t-square is really useful for this, BTW) in pencil. The x-height is going to be correspondingly taller or shorter, depending on the nib -- but that's all going to be proportional to the specific nib.

The easy way is to mark the x height (as in David's examples, with the alternating boxes) on a separate piece of paper, and then use it to mark the edge of the paper you're going to be actually writing on (or along a vertical line marking the left margin). I don't do italic all that much (for the stuff I do, I often prefer stuff like uncial or various blackletter/gothic scripts), so I don't know about what the "standard" x-height and ascender/descender heights are for italic (or what is considered "proper"/"ideal" for that hand.

I have a lot of friends in the SCA who do calligraphy, and I remember a story one guy told me years ago. He and someone else were looking at some extant manuscript, and trying to figure out the posture of the original scribe because the lettering was apparently, well, odd.... He said that they finally decided that the original was written by someone sitting at a 45° angle to the work surface (i.e., instead of facing the desk directly), and with his free arm draped over the back of the chair.... :lol:

Ruth Morrisson aka instainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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BaronWulfraed

If I'm doing calligraphy (which, on extremely rare occasions I do) I look to see what the x-height for a specific hand is (as well as how much to add for ascenders and descenders) and mark x-heghts for ruling lines (a t-square is really useful for this, BTW) in pencil. The x-height is going to be correspondingly taller or shorter, depending on the nib -- but that's all going to be proportional to the specific nib.

The easy way is to mark the x height (as in David's examples, with the alternating boxes) on a separate piece of paper, and then use it to mark the edge of the paper you're going to be actually writing on (or along a vertical line marking the left margin). I don't do italic all that much (for the stuff I do, I often prefer stuff like uncial or various blackletter/gothic scripts), so I don't know about what the "standard" x-height and ascender/descender heights are for italic (or what is considered "proper"/"ideal" for that hand.

Ever seen one of these before? https://www.amazon.com/Alvin-AL666-Lettering-Guide-Template/dp/B001DNAHRO

Edited by BaronWulfraed
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